All Posts

Top 5 Best U.S. Cities to Live In To Maximize Wealth

Do more with what you’ve earned.

Financial advisors for successful professionals, executives, and business owners.

No matter your political persuasion, it’s tough to argue that America remains the top country to build, grow, and maintain generational wealth. When the stars align, plenty of personal drive and a little luck is enough to lay a foundation for financial comfort. Couple that with prudent personal finance and money management or a trusted fiduciary expert, and Americans have a clear advantage regarding earning power potential (that’s one of the reasons why second-generation immigrants out-earn their parents).

Of course, location, location, location applies here – where you live has as much to do, in some cases, as what you do. Consider the many tech elite residing in San Francisco and its surrounding area over the past twenty years. By virtue of their regional alignment, they had access to opportunities to create fantastic wealth. Likewise, biotech workers tend to move to Boston to make a mint, and budding financiers flock to New York.

But your industry or work sector is just part of the overall equation. To find the five best cities to get rich in, we’ll need to dig a little deeper.

Finding the Best Cities to Get Rich In: Methodology

All factors aside – job type, title, education, personal background – nothing influences which city is best to get rich in as much as your savings rate. Your savings rate is simply the net balance when you deduct expenses of all types from your income. While the best way to create maximal wealth, no matter your locale is to make more money (much more pleasant than cutting costs), there’s something to be said for living in a region that’s friendly to improving your savings rate without moving to a no-name flyover town. 

That’s why we took the introductory savings rate and tweaked it to find the best cities in America to maximize your wealth. In a nutshell, we took the potential area’s median household income and then deducted costs of all types, including taxes, healthcare, housing, food, and similar necessities. That left us with the difference between take-home pay and the cost of necessities or the savings rate for that area.

This methodology evens the playing field. It helps ensure that, no matter your background or work industry, you’re looking at an area where the average resident nets $20,000 or more in potential savings annually. As work trends increasingly shift toward remote and digital nomad paradigms, the world is your oyster – and these five cities have plenty to offer financial-minded migrants. 

5. Omaha, Nebraska

Top 5 Best USA Cities to Live In To Maximize Wealth - Omaha Nebraska

If you’re a stock jockey, hearing Omaha, Nebraska, comes in as our fifth best city to maximize wealth may not surprise you. After all, the “Oracle of Omaha,” Warren Buffett, got his start there and remained local even after becoming a billionaire many times over. While you may not hit Buffett-levels of success just by living there, you can break the $20,000 mark when it comes to maximizing your savings rate:

  • Median household income: $65,359
  • Take-home pay after taxes: $50,859
  • Annual cost of necessities: $30,419
  • Difference between take-home pay and cost of necessities: $20,440

Omaha is home to five Fortune 500 companies: Berkshire-Hathaway (Buffett’s conglomerated mega-corp), Aflac, Union Pacific Railroad, Pacific Life (insurance), Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc (construction), and Mutual of Omaha. It’s also home to five additional Fortune 1000 members.

Berkshire and Buffett are primarily known for their outsized role in the insurance game, and you likely noticed two additional insurers up top. That contributes to the city’s booming insurance market, which makes up as much as 8% of the regional GDP. 

4. Raleigh, North Carolina

Top 5 Best USA Cities to Live In To Maximize Wealth - Raleigh North Carolina

The “City of Oaks,” Raleigh, is our fourth best city to preserve wealth. The town is one leg of the “Research Triangle,” named for the heavily funded regional academic field anchored by Duke University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University (in Raleigh). Residents aren’t stuck with student salaries eating Ramen, though:

  • Median household income: $72,996
  • Take-home pay after taxes: $56,230
  • Annual cost of necessities: $34,687
  • Difference between take-home pay and cost of necessities: $21,543

Due to its anchor point within the Research Triangle, Raleigh has a robust biotech industry and surprisingly strong tech sector (no one calls it the East Coast Silicon Valley, but they should). Significant players include American Air, Truist, First Citizens Bank, and everyone’s favorite buffet spot, Golden Corral. 

3. Fort Worth, Texas

Top 5 Best USA Cities to Live In To Maximize Wealth - Fort Worth Texas

Fort Worth’s most well-known feature may be its proximity to Dallas, but the 13th largest city in America is still among the top three best cities for saving money. A handful of well-known companies make their home in Fort Worth, including American Airlines and RadioShack (or what’s left of them). 

But a low cost of living and year-round summer season means that many digital nomads are making their way to the Lone Star State:

  • Median household income: $67,927
  • Take-home pay after taxes: $55,527
  • Annual cost of necessities: $33,942
  • Difference between take-home pay and cost of necessities: $21,585

Financial planning that matches your ambition.

Financial advisors for successful professionals, executives, and business owners.

2. Seattle, Washington

Top 5 Best USA Cities to Live In To Maximize Wealth - Seattle Washington

No state income tax is a significant draw for Seattle’s appeal as one of the best cities to get rich. Home of grunge rock (now, regrettably, called Dad Rock), the weather may be depressing at times, but your rainy-day savings rate more than compensates:

  • Median household income: $105,391
  • Take-home pay after taxes: $81,882
  • Annual cost of necessities: $56,841
  • Difference between take-home pay and cost of necessities: $25,041

Seattle is well-known for its role in Starbucks’ founding and remains the company’s headquarters today. Seattle also hosts Amazon and Zillow, with Microsoft and Costco operating within a 20-minute drive from the city’s center.

1. Virginia Beach, Virginia

Top 5 Best USA Cities to Live In To Maximize Wealth - Virginia Beach Virginia

Ready to retire early? You can at least live the lifestyle by moving to the best city to make the most money: Virginia Beach, Virginia. With a relatively small population of less than half a million, there’s plenty of room to spread out without spreading your savings thin. The area is also home to the world’s largest naval station, which, when considering its tourist destination status, means there’s never a shortage of things to do and enjoy on the cheap:

  • Median household income: $81,810
  • Take-home pay after taxes: $61,306
  • Annual cost of necessities: $34,992
  • Difference between take-home pay and cost of necessities: $26,314

Though it’s fun to see which city is the best place to get rich, the honest answer is that even the most financially friendly city is wrong if it is not suitable for you and your situation. Whether you’re exploring a digital nomadship or a long-term move, validate that you’re moving for the right reasons—financial freedom being one of them. 


Or, if you want to stay put but still optimize your financial footing, reach out today for a free consultation with a financial advisor to see how to make your home the best city to get rich in for you.

Schedule Meeting

The
Wealth
Shift
Journal

Free Subscription

Learn how you can capitalize on the economy’s changing tides with a pragmatic approach to planning and investing. Get a free bi-weekly email with expert insights from Bull Oak’s wealth management team.